C Thomas Howell

  1. Rob Lowe, The Outsiders, 1982.     During Francis Coppola’s intensive ensemble casting sessions at Stage Five of his Zoetrope Studios, Howell was up for Sodapop Curtis – or his brother, Ponyboy.  At 15, said Rob Lowe, Tommy was “stonefaced, cool as ice… looks like a baby and is so low-key it seems like he is not even trying. But he also seems real… nothing forced about his performance.” In short: the perfect Ponyboy.
  2. Ralph Macchio, The Karate Kid, 1983.    The surprise hit had been aimed at Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, Jon Cryer, Robert Downey Jr, Kyle Eastwood, Anthony Edwards, Crispin Glover, Sean Penn, Eric Stoltz, brothers Emilio Esteves and Charlie Sheen and the Initialers  Michael J Fox, C Thomas Howell,  D B Sweeney. At 22, looking 16, Macchio made Daniel LaRusso (ex-Weber) his own in four films and two video-games… and named his son Daniel.  The Character is claimed by many but was based on the early life of scenarist Robert Mark Kamen. It’s a great coming-of-age story,” said Macchio.  And 40 years later, and people still stop him in the street to quote  dialogue at him.
  3. Johnny Depp, A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984.   Depp’s debut. Before noticing him (simply accompanying pal, Jackie Earl Haley, to the auditions), Ohio auteur Wes Craven had also seen , Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, Brad Pitt, Charlie Sheen and Kiefer Sutherland for the heroine’s boyfriend. 
  4. Michael J Fox, Back To The Future, 1984.   Rejected by every studio in town, the now iconic role of Marty McFly was always planned for Fox. However, when his TV series, Family Ties, got in the way, his possible successors were Howell (one of the ET lads), John Cusack, Johnny Depp, Ralph Macchio and Canadian singer Corey Hart – who never made a movie before or since. Filming actually began with Eric Stoltz, who hadn’t got the heavy Mask out of his system. He was fired. That’s when exec producer Steven Spielberg finally brokered a deal with Ties producer Gary David Goldberg… and poor Fox worked as Alex P Keaton all day and Marty McFly all night. And lived to make two sequels!


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